This semester I have completely eliminated exams from my class and have focused instead on larger assignments that encourage students to engage with the material in more creative ways. One of these assignments was to create a podcast or youtube video about a primate of their choosing. They turned them in this past Thursday, and I could not be more delighted with the results. It is easy to see that the students are having more fun working like this rather than memorizing facts for an exam.
For example, one student did a podcast on howler monkeys and said the closest comparison he can come to a howler monkey sound is a death metal singer. He then took a death metal song, removed the real vocals, replaced it with howler monkey howls, and included the result in the podcast. It was brilliant! I think the only difference I would make with this assignment (which you can find here, #3, as well as samples of the student work) is to ask students to watch/listen to two of their classmate’s work and review it as well. That way, they are exposed to more information and ideas.